“We want to show a darker side to Nathan Drake and find out what makes him tick in a way we didn’t get to last time out” admits Naughty Dog co-president, Evan Wells. Judging by the brief trailers already out in the ether, it seems they’re on the right track. The wise-cracking, chiseled lead from Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is seen in two new scenarios. First, trekking across the frozen tundra clutching a statue (or Phurba to be precise) in his hands and secondly, tumbling out of a train carriage as it dangles precariously off a cliff.
Both are brand new locales, but both depict a bloodied and beaten Drake and within three minutes of footage, he only finds time for one light-hearted quip about the bleeding from his stomach wound. Naughty Dog insists that Nathan’s hunt for the Cintamani stone – a jewel that grants the owner wishes – will not only see new environments in battered Nepalese streets and snow-drenched Himalayan Mountains, but a shadier character inside Drake too.
The subtitle speaks volumes – Among Thieves is the devs’ direct acknowledgment of the fact that under his Gap-style clothing, Nathan is nothing but a crook looking out for number one. He’s caught up in the sleazy underworld of crime but it’s not clear how he’s ended up in trouble again. Could it be the reason why Elena – his main squeeze of the original – is given the chop for this sequel? Maybe she gave him the ‘it’s me or the treasure hunts’ ultimatum and he went with the latter? Only time will tell, but he’s got himself a new female companion – a sultry brunette named Chloe, who’s also a treasure hunter. Just like last time out, Nathan isn’t the only one on the trail. There’s a gun-toting group of paramilitary soldiers in the running too.
Even though these new bad-guys are kitted out with flak jackets and shields (more on these later) Uncharted 2 tones down the amount of bullets it takes to drop a man. Emptying clip after clip of hot lead just to kill one armorless pirate in the original was a massive gripe, but mercifully weapons have greater stopping power this time out. And with the promise of more enemies on screen, it seems like Drake’s going to need all the help he can get.